Reed girls wrestling team makes Nevada history

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 9:55 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “What are the odds I went to the school that won the first ever?” asked Reed High School wrestler Aneka Mathews.

Pretty low, because for the first time in Nevada history there is now an NIAA sanctioned girls wrestling tournament champion.

It belongs to the Reed Raiders.

“All the coaches were crying,” said head coach Mike Klapp.

His wrestlers shared a similar emotion.

“It just felt unreal at the moment,” Mathews added. “Just so many tears. So many emotions. We were so excited.”

For years girls wrestling has been building in Nevada. Even if humble settings like school cafeterias are where it all started.

Sure, there have been tournaments in the past, though Klapp says those were unofficial. Not to take anything away from previous competitors, but the Raiders admit their trophy and banner holds special meaning now.

It took a lot for the Raiders to leapfrog SLAM! NEVADA up in Winnemucca over the weekend at the tournament. Reed won four of the five consolation semifinal matches before Maria Aiono sealed the deal.

“After my match I had went to my coaches and said ‘I’m a state champion,’ and they said ‘we’re a state champion. You just won it for us all.’ I was like ‘oh, I did?’” Aiono remembered.

Competing and winning the weekend was the goal to the team of less than 30 girls.

Having the tournament in its current capacity was no small feat. Years of conversations between coaches, wrestlers, governing bodies, and even national input led to girls getting a chance they never had before.

“I think this will help,” Klapp said of the growth of the sport after this inaugural tournament. “I hope it helps. It’s an amazing sport. Kids grow through wrestling and girls deserve that too.”

The old way of running girls wrestling - consider this state tourney a reversal of those norms with more takedowns and pins to follow forever.